Caring for Older Adults

Caring for aging loved ones may be one of the most important jobs you'll ever have. And it can overwhelm you. So let's go over the basics.

Assess their needs

First, figure out what your loved one can do and what they need. Can they make their own meals and pay bills? Can they keep up with medications and maintain a home? Are they able to drive? If so, they may be able to live on their own with frequent wellness checks.

Keeping them safe

But what if your loved one can't do these things? Do they need help with bathing, dressing and feeding themselves? Do they need help with the toilet or with their own personal hygiene? If so, they may need to live with you. Keep in mind that your loved one may resist this change. So talk to them. Explain things clearly. And try to include them as much as possible in the plan.

Get organized

As a caregiver, make sure you have your loved one's important info at hand. Know their allergies, medications and medical history. Know how to contact their doctors. And talk with them about things like living wills and advance directives. By having a plan in place, you'll be able to carry out their wishes in case of emergency.


Finally, remember that caregiving is a difficult job. So watch for signs of burnout or exhaustion in yourself. Know your limits. Ask for and accept help if you need it. And if you can't meet your loved one's needs, or if you need a break sometimes, find a professional caregiver.